Date of Submission
Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
2020 Katherine M Snell
Here, we present a method of gravity-drawing polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) silicone fibers with application as fiber optics and as model foldamers. Beginning as a viscous liquid, PDMS is cured using heat until its measured viscosity reaches 4000 mPa•s. The semi-cured elastomer is then extruded through a tube furnace to produce thin (diameters on the order of hundred micrometers) filaments with scalable lengths. PDMS is biocompatible, gas-permeable, flexible, and hydrophobic. Additionally, the PDMS surface hydrophobicity can be modified via UV exposure, O2 plasma, and corona discharge. We demonstrate the patternibility (i.e patterns of hydrophobicity) of PDMS fibers, adding complexity to potential foldamer systems. In order to study folding, we acoustically excite filaments at the air-water interface, while imaging their folding conformations and dynamics. In order to study their use as fiber optics, we confirmed their ability to waveguide light and measured their flexibility. PDMS fiber flexibility relative to their glass and acrylic counterparts makes them attractive in application as biosensors, with a measured Young’s modulus that is three to four orders of magnitude less stiff than glass/acrylic fiber optics. Additionally, the silicone fiber’s transmission may be tuned to be solvent or gas-sensitive, suggesting low-cost applications as both biological and environmental sensors.
Snell, Katherine, "Gravity-Drawing Flexible Silicone Filaments as Fiber Optics and Model Foldamers" (2020). CMC Senior Theses. 2372.
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